Daniel Ricciardo is confident Toro Rosso’s decision to set its cars up for strong straightline speed will pay dividends in the Italian Grand Prix.
The Australian was fastest in the main speed trap at Monza, as well as the ones situated at the end of the first sector and the start/finish line. He was also second fastest in the trap at the end of sector two on the approach to Ascari.
Although his best time through the middle sector, which features both Lesmos, was relatively uncompetitive, the Toro Rosso was strong in the others and quick enough to qualify seventh.
“Hopefully that’s a good sign for tomorrow,” said Ricciardo when shown the speed trap figures. “Looking at the sector times, you don’t have to be Einstein to figure out we are running quite low downforce. Looking at sector two, it hurts us, but tomorrow it should help us for defending or attacking.”
Ricciardo admitted that the low-downforce approach did make the car tricky to drive. He had an off-track moment at the second Lesmo in Q2, as well as skimming the gravel at the exit of the second chicane in Q3, while team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne had a lurid run through the gravel at the Parabolica on his way to 10th on the grid, but does not expect to have any problems in the race.
“We can’t complain [about the handling] because we both got into Q3,” said Ricciardo. “A fast car is never an easy car to drive and a few mistakes came during the session. It’s not the easiest, but we got some pretty good pace out of it.
“Once we put fuel in there, everything slows down and it gets away from the knife-edge, so on a long-run it should be easier to manage.”
MONZA MAIN SPEED TRAP
The main speed trap at Monza is located on the start/finish straight, 700ft before Turn 1.
1. Daniel Ricciardo 340.4km/h 2. Esteban Gutierrez 340.0km/h 3. Jean-Eric Vergne 339.8km/h 4. Max Chilton 338.6km/h 5. Jules Bianchi 338.6km/h 6. Felipe Massa 338.4km/h 7. Fernando Alonso 338.3km/h 8. Lewis Hamilton 338.1km/h 9. Nico Rosberg 337.8km/h10. Kimi Raikkonen 337.8km/h11. Romain Grosjean 337.1km/h12. Pastor Maldonado 336.8km/h13. Valtteri Bottas 336.4km/h14. Mark Webber 336.3km/h15. Sebastian Vettel 336.1km/h16. Nico Hulkenberg 335.7km/h17. Jenson Button 331.8km/h18. Sergio Perez 331.6km/h19. Giedo van der Garde 330.1km/h20. Charles Pic 329.8km/h21. Adrian Sutil 327.2km/h22. Paul di Resta 326.8km/h